Meet the new VP

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New Vice President of Academic Services, 54, Vern Lindquist

Matt Mifflin, Staff Writer

SPRINGFIELD – People are quickly struck by Vern Lindquist’s vision, experience and
love for students and faculty at the community college level.

The new Vice President of Academic Services, Lindquist said he found a passion at community colleges because “I was able to help the kind of student I was when I was a kid because I got a sense of the commission of what a community college was.”

Lindquist was born in Phoenix but grew up in Michigan. He started school in Saginaw, Mich., but he then moved to Lupton, Mich., where he says, “There were more cows and stray dogs than people.”

After graduation, he attended the University of Michigan where he finished his bachelor’s degree. Next, he earned his Ph.D. at the Indiana University in Bloomington. He majored in English language and literature, with a minor in textual studies.

After teaching a few classes at Indiana while in graduate school, he started working at SUNY Sullivan college, a two-year college in New York, where he taught philosophy and a variety of courses.

Lindquist said he didn’t always see himself at the community college level. During his interview with SUNY Sullivan, he remembers being asked by the president of the college, “where do you see yourself in five years?”

Lindquist replied, “Somewhere else, I don’t plan to stay here.”

Lindquist said that wasn’t the best answer for an interview, but he got the job. He would go on to teach at the school for 18 years.

“I was more pleased with helping them (the students) achieve their goals,” Lindquist said. “I felt more a part of the universe I wanted to be a part of than I did at Indiana. I taught kids (at Indiana) that were going to be fine no matter who
taught them.”

He would also teach and serve as an academic officer at Delhi State University of New York, Richard Bland College, State University of New York at New Paltz, Bard College and Marist College.

Throughout his career, Lindquist has prided himself on getting things done.

“As an academic leader and a manager, there are all kinds of projects I’m working on at any given time. You never complete anything on any given day. I have seven or eight things in the air right now and I love it,” he said.

Lindquist said he is here to improve this institution. Period.

“One of the things the college really needs to do is to be able to prove to external stakeholders that we are doing a good job with the money we have been given,”  Lindquist said. “That helps us make a case to be given more money. That’s called assessment. And the academic side of that is something that the college just hasn’t done a very good job of in the past. We haven’t done a really good job of proving that what we’re doing in the classroom is effective. We need to make sure that is absolutely on point and that will enable Charlotte Warren, the president of this college, to make a stronger case for increased funding.”

At 54, Dr. Lindquist isn’t settling for anything.

“One of the things I’ve become less comfortable with the older I get is being comfortable,” he said, “I think now that I have x number of days left… I want to make sure I am spending them doing something really spectacular.”

Matt Mifflin can be reached at [email protected]